Police: Man uses baby as a shield during arrest in St. Pete

ST. PETERSBURG — A 26-year-old man wanted on a car theft charge was arrested early Tuesday after police said he hid inside a home and used a baby as a shield.

An investigation led authorities to 1301 79th Ave. N, where they found the fugitive — Matthew Wehunt, of Gulfport — at about 8 a.m., St. Petersburg police said.

No one answered the door for about an hour, but officers saw the house's Venetian blinds move. As they approached the door, police said, Wehunt shoved a 3-month-old boy into the blinds "as if shielding himself."

Three other children, all under the age of 4, were locked inside a bathroom, officers said.

Wehunt faces multiple charges of child abuse and auto theft. He remained in the Pinellas County Jail Tuesday evening in lieu of $152,000 bail.

Three woman who lived at the house were arrested on charges of obstruction and child abuse after telling police Wehunt was not inside. They are April Star Dominguez, 23, Ashley Nicole Dixon, 25, and Samantha Daniel Dixon, 24.

Police: Man uses baby as a shield during arrest in St. Pete 09/17/13 [Last modified: Tuesday, September 17, 2013 6:03pm]

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